7. Interview: Josh Rogan, Journeyman Storyteller, Master of Really Living

It all began with a skunk… airstreamnightJosh Rogan is a normal guy. Or that is, he was. Over the last couple of years, Josh fundamentally shifted the rules that govern his life to create a new one that many of us admire, but few seem to be able to replicate… One day he and his wife up and sold most of what they had and decided to hit the road… and truthfully it did all start with a skunk.

Two years ago Josh was living “the American dream” making good money in his chosen profession of stone masonry, developing an inherited property from his family that includes a mountain w/ 360 degree views and marrying the love of his live, Eliza.

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 6.57.20 PMJosh had bigger dreams though – a 2 year plan to “escape” the velvet prison of his current reality and head out on the road to play music (he played part time in a band w/ his brother and other friends) and explore the country with his wife.

Then one day some “varmints” were swarming underneath the house, so Josh baited one out and shot it. Well it turned out to be a skunk and the whole clan decide to “tear gas” the house with their scent and within 30 seconds Josh and Eliza were out of the house with only a few belongings looking for a place to stay in anticipation of a 6 month rehab, insurance claims, new carpet, paint, insulation, drapes, everything.

“The skunk kicked us in the ass to get on with the plan.”

So in short order they decided to sell a lot of their belongings and Josh’s work truck, get an SUV and head west, first stop in Sturgis with the band. But reality called to the other band members and the drummer quit and Josh’s brother (the bass player) threw in the towel as well and it become a journeyman’s story – one man, his wife, his dog, an SUV and the addition of a 1962 airstream traveling the western states, playing music, finding a new life. “Time has totally slowed down for me since then” he said.

badlandsIt wasn’t easy, “at times it put a lot of stress on Eliza and I, we would cry and wonder what the f*#% we are doing, but then we would meet somebody. “People are just so wonderful, I’m addicted to people, listening to people and their stories.”

The journey began to change things, and him. He was finding himself “awake now – using your analogy, the flow of my water is starting to slow – I’m trying to be who and what I always wanted to be.” But, “Its not like I’m happy every day.”

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 6.55.42 PMJosh isn’t averse to some fame and popularity, but his approach is the exact opposite. “I shoot for playing in small towns on Monday nights for 3 or 4 people. “I light them up, I know their names and they wonder where I was last week. “I tell them stories and sit at the bar with them between sets and learn their stories.”

I asked what he has lost and he gets a bit teary. “I miss my family – my mom and dad back in Virginia, my brother who is just about to have a baby – there’s never enough time to pursue the dream and spend time with those you love.”

“The thing about slowing time is that it is about putting yourself out there, making yourself really really vulnerable – you become weaker and stronger at the same time.”

Asked if he can remember a moment in time he’d trade a month, maybe a year for, where time slows and speeds up at the same time Josh had a ready answer:

photo“Oh yeah, I know what you mean, and it happened literally just this morning - for about 30 seconds. “Eliza and I, we’ve given up a lot and my wife has been along for this journey and what we've given up is a lot. “I saw her just this morning, the sun was shining down and I saw her turn on the radio and the music is playing and the wind blowing and I could see her shake her head like a 16 year old girl does when she's listening to music she loves - and I know she's happy.” “That was the moment man – that's it - that's everything to me. (his voice goes husky) “That’s why we’re doing this.”

“Everything we did for the last couple years had to do with that moment when Eliza shook her head listening to that song. “Its a strange thing - to slow time down and watch it play out, but that’s how it happens.”

Thanks Josh for sharing a new version of the American Dream, and for your vision of “really living.”  Find his story and music for download at http://joshroganmusic.com/